The Magical Fix-It Bullet For Faith: 8-Minute Abs For Your Spiritual Life

I wish I could fix your faith with a single surgical Bible verse or the perfect mix of eloquent argumentation. I wish there was a twelve point diagram or a three point sermon or an eight minute program that could get your faith in shape, for the low-low price of Jesus’s grinning thumbs up.

When someone tells me to “Just cheer up” or “Be positive” or “Believe,” there’s nothing in me that doesn’t want to flip a switch and charge up my faith-meter. To tell me that I need to “just just just” is not as easy as a pat on the back of praying away your problems.

Faith isn’t a light switch. It’s a journey.

And that means it takes more than one epiphany. It’s more than one sit-down over coffee. It’s more than any one sermon or blog post or book or Sunday service. Certainly there are life-changing moments in each of these things: but faith is more of a woven tapestry knit by all these unique interlocking fabrics that paint a larger mosaic in the end, and no one can rush this with a magic formula. There’s no 800 number to grow a seed.

No one has the patience for this. It’s not natural to let things grow in their own pacing. We so badly want it now. We want the pain and doubts and frustrations to pass quickly: when we forget, this is all part of the journey too, and it’s all the deepest part of who we become.

Without growing pains, we only end up shallow and misinformed. Without pushing through the initial illusions of an easy faith do we begin to arrive at the rich vibrancy of a faith that bleeds and breathes.

Often I’ll hear a desperate plea for a rock-bottom dry spell of doubt or a prodigal friend going off the deep end. Most of the time, I really have no idea what to say.

Let’s say I did convince you back into faith. Let’s say I did convince your prodigal friend that their lifestyle would only kill them. Let’s say my voice happened to be louder than your doubts.

See: forcing and coercion and persuasion only prop up a puppet; there is no life in a block of wood. I would only be whispering over a graveyard. You’d be persuaded only until something else could persuade you right out of it. When the spell of my eloquence would end: so would your puppet strings be cut.

I don’t want to do this to you. I don’t want to appeal to your propensity for a quick easy fix. I would rather teach you how to think than what to think. Because it’s only after you’ve tasted the truth for yourself could you ever fully decide to clamp down upon the meat and digest. Everyone needs to climb their own mountain, or else you shortcut the depth of your own convictions. My role is only to get out of the way and point. Our role isn’t to digest the food for each other.

If it were this easy, it wouldn’t be God who is working but only the clenching of my teeth. Who really wants the quick pat cliche? Who wants the solution that wasn’t born out of sweat and catharsis? That won’t last past Tuesday. We need blooming and not a bullet.

It is right to ask for wisdom and help and advice. It is right to ask others about their own stories, their own troubles and trials. Yet at some point we turns our eyes back to the road on Him, where we can pour out our confusion and questions and doubts: and He will give us grace and growth. He will breathe life into our hearts of stone, one breath at a time.

— J.S.

4 thoughts on “The Magical Fix-It Bullet For Faith: 8-Minute Abs For Your Spiritual Life

  1. It seems that a lot of people have learned to depend A LOT on the words of encouragement and experiences of others. That’s a dangerous place to be; I don’t believe that most people even realize that it’s happening. I understand your statement about “getting out of the way and point”. I’ve mentioned before that my husband was a minister. When he left the church, I heard that several had left, also. Although we know that’s common, it has bothered both of us. Some started attending other churches, and some did not. I see people put so much faith into their pastor, rather than God. Their commitment is (often) to their pastor (or youth pastor) rather than where it should be.

    On another note, I think it’s extremely important that we (believers) are ready to be there for a friend who is suffering, failing, struggling. There have been several times when a friend, my husband, one of my sons, has sent me scripture when I needed it. It wasn’t their opinion or advice – it was the word of God….which pointed my thoughts and emotions in the right direction.


  2. This post describes the walk I have been on pretty much spot on.

    I used to try & live my life, my faith, vicariously through others. I would be a prophetic word junkie, even now, I have to remind myself not to seek the Words/pictures etc but rather seek the Giver.

    I’ve tried to shortcut through the hard stuff & it just doesn’t work. You get frustrated & you end up wanting to quit believing or just throw your toys in a corner & call “foul” on God.

    Now I’m older, I’m seeing the value of walking through stuff, hard times, old sinful habits etc (doesn’t mean I like or enjoy it!). As I look back I see where God has moved. But I had to choose to walk through with faith, not knowing how things would turn out but trusting God – not as easy as the phrase sounds.

    You speak truth in this post JS, as you always do.

    Thank you. I so enjoy your refreshing attitude.
    Hope your Philippines trip went well?


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